Does anyone have experience with an external video hosting service?  We are looking for a professional level service that allows for admin account/multiple user accounts with no video length restrictions. 

Out of the running are Vimeo Plus, iTunes (regular and for schools) and YouTube.

We are considering Brightcove, Viddlers, Vzaar, Wistia, Sprout, IPlayer, Oculu.  Any others?

Thanks for your input!


-Julie Newton
Director of Information Technology

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Hello Julie - i think whatever direction you go you need to think about the end-user.  As far as who will be uploading the content, viewing the content, etc.  In my practice, I tend to navigate to those types of technology programs which are user friendly on the admin side as well as the viewing side.  Our institution has a number of YouTube channels that we use to disseminate information.  Students have their own channel, faculty/adjuncts, and then we have one overall channel for Lexington Theological Seminary.  We've made great strides on this front, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions.

I'm not entirely sure why you've ruled out YouTube and Vimeo.  We have found Vimeo Plus to be a very agile and affordable way to host video inside of our LMS.  The videos aren't able to be shared, and we don't have hassles about monitoring bandwidth use over our entire course catalogue.

That said, we also use Kaltura as our primary host for audio and video.  The account has to be centrally managed by one person or department, which does cause a lag when professors want material uploaded.  It does, however, mean that we are able to assure that videos conform to institutional standards, and it's an affordable, scalable, and secure solution.  Kaltura also re-encodes media to formats that consume less bandwidth.

Speaking of standards, I'm also curious as to why you're worried about video length restrictions.  Most videos for instructional purposes should be kept shorter (in multiple installments) for maximum pedagogical benefit.  Additionally, mosts hosts are going to look at file size as the measure of your upload allowances.  Proper video encoding can get even a 90-minute presentation down to a fairly reasonable size.  Keep in mind that the main concern when inking a contract with a host is going to be bandwidth.  If you have a 1GB video that is watched twice by 30 students , you have now consumed 60GB of your bandwidth allotment for that month.  That's one video, in one moderate-enrollment course.  Assume that your ESL learners will watch videos multiple times, and that your original uploads of materials (say that a class has 30GB of materials that you have to load to the host) also count against this limit.    [(students enrolled)*(views per student)*(file size)] gives you the bandwidth estimate for each individual asset.  These variables matter - uploading 30 mp3 files in a course might consume more bandwidth than 5 videos uploaded for another course.

I hope this helps.  Navigating the waters of video hosting isn't easy.  Add in the fact that users increasingly want to consume video on devices running iOS, Android, and Windows Metro, and that some LMS will not allow embedding of media that is not https compliant, and you've got a real chore on your hands.

Hi Julie, In one part of my life I am Executive Director of a non-profit consortium called CollegeAnywhere that provides such services. I'll get in touch with what's offered. It's designed (and priced) for higher education, at this point for upload of institutional and instructor content. There are other tools too depending on the kind of content you have, as well as a Blackboard Building block that integrates content directly into the LMS (with other LMS integration in development). Would be glad to discuss your needs, I presented today at the ATS CFO/TTEG conference on all types of cloud resources (not CollegeAnywhere).

- John

I've been surprised to see how many schools here at TTEG are actually using Youtube.  I have to admit, having recently seen examples of their automatic Closed Captioning feature, I'm really impressed.

And they now have live-streaming options as well, complete with lower thirds and google apps integration.  Pretty neat stuff, really.

Thanks for your replies!  And it's great that I had the opportunity to meet you in Scottsdale.

Our Learning Technologist, Deb Hamilton researched a lot of options for us and created a spreadsheet (attached) of 11 video hosting options.  Ultimately, Wistia was the top choice for us because of pricing (priced by bandwidth only), administration options (multi-user accounts), playlist can include non-video materials, branding and preferred the interface.  Our administration will be fairly decentralized at least for awhile so multiple admin accounts is a useful feature for us.

As for video length restrictions, we plan to host video of special events sometimes that last much longer than a normal class.  We could break into it sections but wanted the option to keep it in its entirety.

Ben - I'll check out your YouTube channels.  Is it through the 'YouTube for Schools' product line?  It looks like there was only 1 admin account allowed.  Do all video postings go through you?

Kirby - Thanks for your comment about bandwidth - I'll pass it on to Deb.  How do you handle the administration of Vimeo Plus?  Do all videos go through you to be uploaded?

John - Sorry to have missed your talk at the conference. It looks like it would have been a very helpful workshop.


Hello Julie - we currently have 2 YouTube channels: One for chapels services, graduation, etc. - LexTheoSeminary and another YouTube strictly for students only.  Within the student YouTube channel our students do a lot of video presentation projects, where they take what they learn in the online courses and video record themselves integrating the concepts in chapel services, small group workshops, etc.  Once the student edits the video, adding titles, etc. they have the credentials to upload their videos to this channel, therefore allowing our faculty/adjuncts the opportunity to view, grade, and provide the student feedback.

When using a YouTube channel for chapel services how are you avoiding Google from flagging music as a copyright violation?  We are streaming chapels live through Google Hangout and a YouTube channel and keep getting dinged by Google with content violations while a choir sings or during a performance.  


I'm not sure you can.  Google isn't going to recognize CCLI agreements, because they are partnering (and being policed by) RIAA and MPIAA types.  We only post the sermons from our chapels.  Even when we have live-streamed events, we tend to only focus on the speaker.  The exception would be graduation.  We use Wirecast with a U-Stream/Watershed hosting service, which isn't really scouting for those sorts of things, anyway.

Interesting question.

I recently uploaded a 6 minute video that contained music to our school's YouTube channel. YouTube immediately tagged the music and offered a "scrubbing tool" to eliminate the music from the video. The scrubbing tool worked surprising well while leaving the speaking audio mostly intact, I say mostly because the music level was dropped dramatically behind the speaking voice so there are some small audio artifacts in the presenter's words but they are likely not noticeable to regular viewers. The worst part is the removal process took about an hour on this relatively short video. It would be faster to master the video without the audio in the first place, which I will ultimately do.

Here is the video (it isn't public since I was testing)

I hope this helps!

Sorry I missed your follow-up question, Julie!  It was great to see you in AZ.  You will be relieved to hear that I found a reliable source of avocados here in MA.  (everyone else:  you had to be there).

Administration is the big down side of Vimeo Plus.  We have a small group of designers who are responsible for the intake of video from instructors (ie. narrated ppt files in video format).  They have access to the channel, where they post material with an acceptable level of metadata and a use of naming conventions.  The problem is that the backend organizational tools in Vimeo are very weak.  This tends to be my major complaint with most hosting services - their library and asset management tools are mostly flash based, or extremely limited.


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